s Get Prepared
What may protect you and your family in the
event of the earthquake could be just one piece
of knowledge, just one tool, or just some simple
communication. Small preparations transform
into enormous help. In this chapter, we have
compiled things you can do now to prepare for
a disaster. Don't regret not doing so after a
major disaster hits. Let's start preparing now.
Four Preparations to Do Now
Preparing outside the home
What is most indispensable at the time of a disaster is a
In order to evacuate safely, you should know the
stockpile of food and daily essentials. Have a stockpile
situation around your house and your community’s level
ready to continue living at home and to survive.
of risk. It’s also important to check the evacuation routes
and walk through them.
Concept of “daily stockpiles”
→ p. 85
Know the area around your house
→ p. 114
Essential stockpile items
→ p. 86
Confirm evacuation places
→ p. 115
Know the topology
→ p. 116
Household stockpile list
→ p. 88
Know your community’s earthquake
→ p. 118
Preparation of an emergency bag
→ p. 90
Five key points
→ p. 93
Know where you will be able to
→ p. 120
Preparing inside the home
Prepare through communication
You need to take measures to prevent objects from
Cooperation with your neighbors is indispensable in a
falling or furniture from toppling over or sliding into
disaster. Make it a point to exchange greetings with your
you in order to avoid being trapped, and to prevent glass
neighbors and participate in disaster and fire drills held by
from shattering. It’s also important to not have objects
your community association.
Points to stabilizing furniture
→ p. 96
Hold a family meeting
→ p. 122
Tools to prevent objects from
→ p. 98
→ p. 124
falling, toppling over, or moving
Disaster preparedness in apartment
→ p. 125
Furniture stabilizing checklist
→ p. 100
Protect yourself from the tremors
→ p. 106
Confirm safety and collect
→ p. 128
through seismic retrofitting
Fire prevention measures to prevent
→ p. 109
Participate in fire and disaster drills
→ p. 130
the outbreak or spread of fire
food and daily
before you run out
in daily life
a little more
than you need
Importance of stockpiling at home
Once a major earthquake strikes, it is anticipated that lifelines such as
Until now, it was thought that stockpiling emergency supplies was special and
electricity, gas, and water will be damaged, and the supply of goods will be
involved preparing items not normally used such as ship biscuits and flashlight
interrupted. Given that following the earthquake, many Tokyo residents are
headbands. As such, there are probably many people who gave up, believing that
expected to remain in homes that were spared collapse or serious damage for
managing and maintaining a stockpile was difficult. However, the “daily stockpile”
a period of time, it is important for everyone to prepare the items necessary to
method allows you to easily create an emergency stockpile just by buying a little more
continue living at home ahead of time.
of the food and essentials that you normally use on a daily basis.
Essential Stockpile Items
The following lists are examples of the bare minimum of items you should
Items that disaster survivors found valuable
stockpile. Because each household is different, you should consider what is
The following is a list of items that people who experienced evacuation life in
best for each member of your household and create your stockpile.
a disaster-stricken area found particularly helpful. Households with infants or
elderly family members should always keep an extra supply of items absolutely
essential to their daily lives such as diapers and medications. The same can be
said for household members who are ill, on a special diet, or have allergies.
Portable gas cooking stove and
Large plastic bags can also be used to transport water from a water supply point or as
emergency toilets. Select items according to your lifestyle.
Water for domestic use
Radio (rechargeable type, etc.)
Medications for a chronic
Disposable body warmers
Spare battery for your
First aid kit
Garbage bags/large plastic
Food and water
Food such as canned food can be consumed without being heated. Vegetable juice can
help compensate for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Water (for drinking, cooking, etc.)
Food that can be consumed without being heated
Staple foods (heat-and-eat rice, noodles, etc.)
(“kamaboko” steamed fish paste, cheese, etc.)
Side dishes (canned food, heat-and-eat dishes, frozen food)
Snacks and sweets (chocolate, etc.)
Canned food (fruit, azuki beans, etc.)
Seasonings (soy sauce, salt, etc.)
Supplies for everyday use (to always be stocked)
Supplies for a disaster
Household Stockpile List
Pre-washed rice: 5 kg; heat-and-eat rice:
6; dried noodles: 1; instant noodles: 3
Items and amounts of
Canned food (e.g. miso-stewed mackerel,
the household stockpile
vegetables): 6 each
Heat-and-eat food: 9
“Daily stockpiles” is based on the
Canned food (fruit, etc.): 1
concept of stocking extra supplies
Vegetable juice: 9
of food and other daily items to
Drinks: 6 500-ml bottles
Cheese, “kamaboko” steamed fish paste,
prepare for an emergency. Because
etc.: 1 pack each
different households have different
circumstances, it would be important
Nutrition bars, etc.: 3 boxes; powdered
for you to consider what items
health drink: 1 bag
Seasonings: 1 set
and how much of them are needed
for your family to continue living
Spare battery for mobile
at home after a disaster, and then
Large plastic bag, garbage bag: 30 each
phone: 3 (the number of
prepare those items as your own
Plastic wrap: 1
Latex gloves: 1 box
Model family: A family of four̶husband, wife, infant and elderly woman
Tissue paper: 5 boxes
Kyotaro Azuma (40)
Toilet paper: 12 rolls
Teacher; likes curry
Disinfecting wet wipes: 1 box (about 100)
Kyoka Azuma (36)
Disposable contact lenses: 1-month supply
Works for an insurance company;
Disposable body warmer: 10
currently on maternity leave; uses contact
Ignition stick: 1
Sanitary napkins: about 60
Kyonosuke Azuma (11 months)
Allergic to eggs
Kyoko Azuma (70)
Powdered infant formula: about 20 single
Has high blood pressure; wears dentures;
Baby food: at least 1-week supply
has poor hearing
Baby wipes: 1 pack
Supplies for everyday use
Diapers: about 70
Supplies for a disaster
(to always be stocked)
Water (for drinking, cooking and other
Emergency toilet: about 30
Rice gruel or other soft food, food for the
use): 12 2-liter bottles
times worth (each to be used
elderly: at least 1 week supply
Portable gas cooking stove: 1;
Medicine (prescription drugs): 1-month
Battery for hearing aid: 6
Medicine, non-prescription drugs: 1
Denture cleaner: about 30
Hand-rechargeable or other type
*Based on the above list, prepare your own set of items that meet the needs of your household.
An emergency bag is a bag that contains the minimum essentials needed for the
Emergency bag that is always carried around
time being after you evacuate. In preparing an emergency bag, it is important to
In case a disaster occurs while you are out, always carry the minimum requirements in
think about what each of you would need, and select items to be put in the bag. Pack
your bag. Remove the batteries from the portable radio.
those items in bags such as knapsacks, and place them near the front entrance or
in the bedroom, car, or shed so that you can carry them out even if your house has
Mobile phone battery
recharger for mobile phone
Emergency set / blanket
Emergency bag to be kept at workplace
Aside from what your employer has in stock, prepare your own emergency supplies
by imagining what you would need if you have to stay overnight at your workplace or
Important items you should keep together
Keeping certificates or other important documents in a plastic case with a fastener can also
protect them from water. It might be a good idea to carry a photograph of your family in
case you need it.
Photograph of your family
Health insurance card
Living without help for a week
Anyone Can Prepare“Daily
“Daily stockpiles”is keeping extra supplies of daily items
Five key points for stockpiling
If a major disaster strikes and disrupts infrastructure, it would even be difficult for
A refrigerator is a storage place for food
the authorities to respond quickly. You should thus keep a stockpile of items that can
It is said that a typical household has a one to two-week supply of food,
allow you to live without relying on anyone for at least a week until relief arrives. This
including items in the refrigerator. If you start with food in the freezer, go
is the idea of emergency stockpiles. Simply buy and stock the items you always need
on to items in the refrigerator, and then to the remaining food, you will be
able to live on your regular stock of food for several days.
at home and use them in order of purchase. You don’t need to buy something special
for an emergency. This is the concept of daily stockpiles, and it is not difficult. Prepare
by simply buying and keeping a little more food and daily items than usual.
Importance of water for domestic use
When water supply is cut off, a major difficulty you will face is not having
If food in the refrigerator is taken into consideration, what you need to prepare
water for domestic use. To prepare for this, always have the bath tub filled
becomes smaller (See “Five key points for stockpiling”). However, it is important
with water. If you live in an apartment, water in the receiving tank of the
for families with infants, the elderly, and/or people with an illness to prepare extra
building will also be available, but rules on how this will be distributed to
the residents must be decided in advance.
supplies of specifically necessary items that would not be available immediately after
a disaster, such as powdered infant formula and daily medicine. Take the time to think
Must-haves for all-electric housing
about what you will need to survive and prepare a stockpile tailored to your lifestyle.
In all-electric houses, you cannot even boil water if the power supply is
suspended. With boiled water, you can prepare instant noodles and many
other kinds of food. So stock portable cookers and canisters. For houses that
Difference between staying at home and staying elsewhere
are not all-electric as well, portable cookers will be very helpful when the
gas supply is suspended.
After a disaster, some stay at home and others evacuate and stay elsewhere. People
staying at home will live on their own stockpiles, and those who cannot continue
If you live alone
living at home will stay at evacuation centers. Necessary supplies are totally different
for people staying at home and those staying at evacuation centers.
If you live alone and often shop at convenience stores, you probably don’t
have a week’s supply of food in your refrigerator. Try purchasing a little
more of your favorite items such as instant noodles, heat-and-eat food,
If you have to evacuate from your home because it had collapsed or burned down,
snacks and beer at the convenience store to build up your stock.
you will only be able to carry the minimum essentials because the top priority is
protecting your life. In that case, it will be difficult to use your stockpiles. Therefore
what you need when you leave home is an emergency bag containing the minimum
Be aware of the use-by date
requirements, which is compact enough to be carried to the evacuation center. The
Just like food, items such as batteries, medicine and disposable warmers
also have use-by dates. Regularly check the dates so you will not run into
minimum requirements vary from person to person, so it is important that you think by
problems when they become necessary.
yourself about what you need to survive and prepare those items, rather than simply
buying items based on a prepared list.
Based on information provided by Professor Kishie Shigekawa, Graduate School of Environment
and Disaster Research, Tokoha University
Preparing Inside the Hom
Keep furnishings to a
Through the use of closets and
built-in storage spaces, try to keep
furnishings to a minimum in living
areas. By promptly moving to an area
clear of objects when you hear an
earthquake early warning, you can
increase your level of safety.
Ensure escape routes
Plan the layout of your furniture to
ensure that your escape route and
doorways are clear of obstructions.
Use built-in shelves for storage rather
than placing furnishings near the
entrance to a room or in the hallway.
Furthermore, be aware that drawers
may slide out during an earthquake,
and consider the direction a piece of
disasters such as fires
If furnishings or other objects fall onto or
30-50 percent of earthquake-related injuries in recent
slide into a gas heater, this could cause
years were caused by falling objects or furniture and
a secondary disaster such as a fire. In
other heavy items toppling over or sliding into people.
addition, it is essential that steps be taken to
While the best protection against such injuries is to not to put anything in a room, this
stabilize furniture or electrical appliances
may not be realistic. The next best approach is to arrange furniture so that you won’t
that could spark a fire in order to prevent
be crushed by it. If you also install stabilizing devices to prevent objects from falling
them from falling, toppling over, or sliding.
or furniture and other heavy items from toppling over or sliding, you can reduce the
risk of injury.
Stabilize furniture on
For furniture that you move on a daily
basis, lock casters when you are not
moving it around. If the piece has a
fixed location, attach it to the wall or
floor using a detachable safety strap
or other means. For furnishings that
you do not normally move, install
devices such as caster cups or tension
rods to stabilize them.
Prevent furniture legs
Even furnishings not set against a wall
that are not tall require measures to
prevent them from sliding, especially
tables and chairs. Affix adhesive anti-slip
pads to furniture legs, or on carpet, use
slide prevention mats.
Measures to counter long-
period ground motion
Securing furniture to the wall is the most basic
Strong, slow shaking that lasts for an
way to prevent items from tipping over or sliding.
extended period is characteristic of long-
period ground motion (see page 240).
Once you have planned the layout of your furniture, it is now time to secure it in place
To prepare for this type of shaking, you
through the use of various stabilizing devices. The surest way to achieve this is to use
need to pay special attention to hanging
lighting fixtures and items in the home
L-brackets and screws to secure a piece of furniture to the wall. If this is not an option,
that contain water such as aquariums and
using tension rods in conjunction with tip-over prevention wedges or anti-slip pads
water dispensers. Take steps to stabilize
these items using the appropriate safety
will raise the level of effectiveness.
L-brackets (installed facing
Tension rods and pole devices
Tip-over prevention wedges
Secure furniture to the wall using wood
These devices are not secured using
Use chains or wires to attach hanging
Insert the wedge beneath the front of the
screws or bolts. L-brackets can be
screws, but are installed in the space
lighting fixtures to the ceiling to provide
piece of furniture and lean it toward the
between the piece of furniture and the
installed using the slide method, facing
ceiling. By pairing these devices with
upward, or facing downward. Installing
anti-slip gel pads and tip-over prevention
the brackets facing downward offers the
wedges, stability is increased.
Anti-slip sheets (pad type)
Detachable furniture safety straps
Anti-shatter glass film
These sticky gel pads act to grip the
Attach furniture on casters to the wall
Place the cups under caster wheels to Apply this film to glass doors and windows to
underside of the piece of furniture,
with furniture safety straps to prevent
prevent furniture from moving.
protect against flying glass in the event a glass
adhering it to the floor.
Living room, kitchen
Hanging lighting fixtures
Use chains to prevent fixtures from swinging.
Place cupboards where they won’t obstruct escape from the
house, even if they tip over, and secure them to the wall.
Stabilize the TV on the TV stand using a detachable
Apply anti-shatter film to any glass.
furniture safety strap or other method. Affix the stand to
the wall using L-brackets, and prevent the TV from sliding
Install safety latches to prevent drawers from sliding out.
through the use of anti-slip pads.
To prevent the items stored inside from flying out, install
Stabilize the microwave on the stand using anti-slip
safety latches on cabinet doors.
pads or safety strap devices, and secure the stand to the wall
Place the refrigerator where it won’t obstruct evacuation from the
house, and secure it to the wall using a safety strap or other device.
Tables and chairs
Affix anti-slip pads to the legs of tables and chairs to
Don’t put items on top of the refrigerator that could easily fall off
during an earthquake.
Prevent sliding by attaching anti-slip pads to the legs of the bed
Join upper and lower units with connectors and secure units to the
or other method. Don’t hang framed pictures, wall clocks, or
wall with L-brackets. Don’t put items on top of the unit that could
other items on the wall or ceiling near the bed.
easily fall off during an earthquake.
Apply anti-shatter film to windows.
Chest of drawers,
Place chests and wardrobes where they won’t obstruct your
escape route and doors. Secure the unit to the wall or ceiling using
Furniture on casters
When not moving furniture, lock casters, insert caster cups, and
L-brackets or tension rods, and place a tip-over prevention wedge
secure the unit to the wall with furniture safety straps.
under the unit.
Don’t place items near entrances in order to keep the escape
Stabilize each unit by installing stabilizing adjusters under the
machine, and secure it to the wall using safety straps.
Secure computers to desks using anti-slip pads or safety straps, and join desks
together with connectors.
Lay out partitions in formations that will not easily fall over
such as H or U-shaped formations and secure them to the
Secure units to the wall using L-brackets.
along the wall
Install latches on drawers and cabinet doors. Join upper and lower
Secure bulletin boards to the wall with L-brackets to ensure they
units with connectors. Don’t place items on top of storage units that
don’t fall down.
could easily fall off during an earthquake.
Apply anti-shatter film to the glass. Don’t place items in front of
windows that could easily fall over.
Seismic resistance checklist
First, check your seismic resistance by yourself using the following list. If a lot of the
check points apply for your house, have a professional conduct a seismic inspection.
The house was built before June 1, 1981.
New extensions were built two or more times. A section of the wall or
column was removed for the extension.
In the past the house suffered major damage such as flooding, fire, or
The house is located on reclaimed land, swampy lowland, or developed
The building foundation is made of something other than reinforced
A window makes up a whole wall.
Relatively heavy roofing materials such as Japanese tiles or western tiles
are used, and the ground floor has few walls.
The building is in an L-shape or T-shape, and has an uneven structure.
There is a large atrium.
It seems like the doors and windows are badly fitted, and the pillars and/
or floor are tilted.
There’s a crack in the wall.
The veranda or balcony is damaged.
Importance of seismic retrofitting to keep from
being crushed to death
Some 80 percent of the people who were killed in the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake
were crushed to death by collapsed buildings. It is said that buildings that were
constructed over 30 years ago, before the new building code for seismic resistance
came into effect on June 1, 1981, have low safety against a major earthquake. These
buildings should be inspected for seismic resistance.
Fire Prevention Measures
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government
has a consultation desk for seismic
retrofitting. Consultation is free (p. 269).
Some municipalities have programs to
subsidize part of the costs of seismic
inspections and retrofitting.
Seismic retrofitting of
The owners association should gather
information on seismic resistance,
have the building undergo a seismic
inspection, and based on this, discuss the
issue of seismic retrofitting.
Details → p. 125
Seismic Certification Mark
So that Tokyo residents can feel safe using
buildings, this mark shows the safety of the
Importance of measures to prevent the
building against earthquakes. Buildings with
outbreak and spread of fires
this mark have been confirmed to comply
It is critical to prevent the outbreak of fires and stop their spread. To equip your house
with seismic resistance standards.
with fire extinguishers, household fire alarm systems, ground fault circuit interrupters,
and earthquake-tripped circuit breakers is also said to be effective. When evacuating,
close the main gas valve, and turn off the circuit breakers.
Fire extinguishers for home use
Fire prevention checklist
These are small and lightweight, and can be easily used,
There are three main causes for the outbreak of fire at the time of an
even by women and the elderly. There are two types of fire
earthquake: fire from electrical current leaks or when power is restored,
extinguisher agents—water and alkali salt, and powder. There is
fire from gas leaks, and fire from oil stoves. Inspect your house for fire
also an even more simple and compact aerosol spray type. The
prevention and take measures to prevent fires from occurring.
expiration period differs by type, so be sure to note the date and
replace them accordingly. Considering situations in which the
extinguishers might be used, keep them where you can easily
Carpet or furniture is not covering the power cords.
get your hands on them, such as near the kitchen, in the hallway,
Electrical appliances not in use are unplugged.
or by the front door.
Fish tanks, flower vases or other containers of water are not located
near electrical appliances.
Fire alarm systems
You know where the circuit breaker panel is.
Devices installed on the ceilings of the bedroom, kitchen, and other
Propane gas tanks are fixed with chains, etc., to prevent them from
rooms, detect smoke and heat from fire, alert you through a noise
or voice alarm, and help prevent delays in escaping. To ensure that
In the case of city gas or propane gas, the micom-meter (intelligent
this alarm system works properly in an emergency, be sure that the
gas meter) is still within its period of validity.
batteries haven’t run out and periodically check their operation by
The space around the kitchen range is not cluttered, and has no
pressing the test button.
The gas hose is not degraded.
Ground fault circuit interrupter
There are not flammable objects around the oil stove.
This device automatically shuts down the power in
Measures are taken to prevent the stove from falling over.
about 0.1 seconds after an abnormal current flow due
to electrical current leaks or other problems. This is
No flammable objects are placed in locations that could be
installed in the distribution switchboard and shuts
evacuation routes such as the hallways or stairs.
down all the power if there is an electrical current leak
The sections of the house that are adjacent to the house next
anywhere in the house. Check to see if you already
door have metal shutters or windows with wire glass.
have ground fault circuit interrupter installed, and if not,
it would be reassuring if you install one.
Earthquake-tripped circuit breaker
This device detects the strong shaking of an earthquake
and shuts down the power. Along with fire extinguishers
and ground fault circuit interrupters, the installation of
this device is said to enhance prevention of the outbreak
of electrical fires. There are different types such as socket
types, distribution switchboard types, and simple types, with
some giving consideration to matters such as securing lights
during a power outage, and maintenance.
Protect lives through installation in existing houses
Gas, and Water Supply
that can be installed at low costs
Have you ever heard of an earthquake-
resistant shelter? These are installed in
an existing house, and can protect your
life by securing a certain amount of safe
space even if the house collapses due to
an earthquake. The major cause of death
in a large earthquake is building collapse.
Of the fatalities in the Great Hanshin-
Awaji Earthquake, about 80 percent are
said to have died by being crushed by
buildings that collapsed.
Earthquake-resistant shelter that protects the
Houses that are not sufficiently seismic
resistant need to be retrofitted, but such
construction would involve processes
such as reinforcement by load bearing
walls and cross-bracing, installation of
dampers, reinforcement by joints, and
foundation reinforcement, which would
take time and be expensive. Those of you
who feel the need to retrofit your house
to withstand earthquakes, but hesitate
to do so because of financial reasons,
When a wooden house that was installed with
should consider the installation of this
an earthquake-resistant shelter collapses due to
Confirming how to shut down and restore supply
earthquake-resistant shelter. The bed type
Both can be installed while living in
In an earthquake, the supply of electricity, gas, and water may stop. The Tokyo
(photo above) protects the sleeping space
the house, and the installation can be
Metropolitan Government aims to restore power in 7 days, water supply and sewerage
only, and the room type (right photo)
done in a shorter period of time than
in 30 days, and city gas in 60 days. When you evacuate, turn off your circuit breakers,
protects an entire room. Costs are from
seismic retrofitting work. For details,
close the gas valve, and close the main valve of the water meter. Confirm where these
visit the following URL.
are in advance, and learn how to turn them off and turn them back on.
Tokyo Earthquake Resistance Portal Site
Learning about Your
Confirm evacuation places
When evacuation orders are given, or when the danger of fire approaches, you
should evacuate to a temporary evacuation area (e.g. nearby elementary or junior
high schools, parks). If that place becomes dangerous, move to an evacuation area
(e.g. large park or open space). If your home has been damaged and it is difficult to
continue living there, you can live at an evacuation center for a while. It is important
to understand the difference between these three places.
Details → p. 274
Temporary Evacuation Area
Know the area around your house
A place where people gather
Knowing the topology, geological features, cliffs and other dangerous areas around your
temporarily to grasp the
house, as well as past disasters and measures that were taken are indispensable disaster
situation before evacuating to
measures. Make sure to also confirm the location of evacuation areas, evacuation routes,
the evacuation area (e.g. school
open spaces such as large parks, and facilities such as community halls and convenience
stores. This will facilitate your early response in the event of a disaster, and make you able
to evacuate to a safe place.
Know the topography
Lowlands in Tokyo are land along the Tama River and valley floors along the rivers
The southeastern portion of the Kanto Mountains makes up Tokyo’s mountainous
flowing through the plateau, and the areas of Koto, Sumida, Edogawa, Katsushika,
area, which covers the Okuchichibu region (where Tokyo’s highest summit, Mt.
Arakawa, and Ota wards stretching from the old Shitamachi district of Tokyo to Tokyo
Kumotori, is located), all of Hinohara Village, and the western portions of Ome City,
Bay. Because lowlands are weak stratum called alluvium, the ground is susceptible to
Hinode Town, Akiruno City, and Hachioji City in the Tama area. This area is at risk of
shaking, and areas on the coast and near rivers are also at risk of tsunamis.
Tablelands in Tokyo are the area to the east side of Ome City, the region straddling
the border between Hino City and Hachioji City, the Yodobashi Tableland centering
Tokyo’s islands are the Izu Islands and the Ogasawara Islands. In Nankai Trough
on Shibuya ward and spreading to Shinjuku, Setagaya, Meguro, Shinagawa, Minato,
earthquake estimates, the islands are at the risk of being hit by a high tsunami within
and Chiyoda wards, and the Ebara Tableland to its south that spreads across Setagaya,
minutes from the earthquakes. If roads and port facilities are damaged, it is estimated
Meguro, Shinagawa, and Ota wards. The ground is stable, but there are places where
that logistics systems will cease for a few days to about a week.
steep slopes are at risk of landslides.
Know Your Community's
Confirm your community's“combined risk”
Check the hazard map
In addition to a community’s “fire risk” and “building collapse risk” levels, the Tokyo
A hazard map contains information such
Metropolitan Government has released the “combined risk,” which is an aggregation
as areas predicted to suffer damages,
of these two risks, and the “combined risk in light of emergency response difficulty,”
evacuation areas, and evacuation routes,
which assesses the status of the existing road infrastructure that will support activities
for use in mitigating damages from a
in the event of a disaster. Confirm your community’s level of risk and use it to plan
disaster and for disaster preparedness.
measures to take.
Details → p. 278
Check the map for your community’s
risk of disasters from flood, landslide,
Building collapse risk
liquefaction, and others.
The risk of building collapse becomes higher
with the age of the building and its low quake-
resistance, and caution is also necessary for
buildings located in alluvial lowlands and
valley lowlands. Building collapse risk tends
to be high in the “shitamachi” (downtown)
Learn about your
area of Tokyo along the Arakawa and Sumida
community's history of
rivers, where old wooden or light-gauge steel
frame buildings are concentrated.
Disaster preparedness measures are
formulated based on lessons learned
from past disasters. Learning about your
When an earthquake occurs, there is the risk
community’s history of disasters, such
of wide-area damage from the spread of fires
as past floods or earthquakes, can enable
breaking out from the shaking. The degree
you to make more practical preparations.
of such risk is called “fire risk,” and this is
Ask neighbors who have lived in the area
calculated from the risks of fire outbreak and
for a long time, or look this information
spread. Many communities at high risk exist
up at a library.
in areas where there is a high concentration
of wooden houses, and are found in areas
including those along Ring Road No. 7 and
the JR Chuo line (ward area).
With toilets that can be used in a disaster and benches that can be used for cooking
Places Safe from Fire
Disaster prevention parks as an
evacuation area and operations center
One of the most distressing things about
an evacuation during a disaster is the
toilet situation. Keep in mind that there
are places called “disaster prevention
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has
parks.” These parks have toilets that can
designated “fire-safe areas” where there
be used even when infrastructure such as
is no fear of large-scale spread of fires
water supply and electricity has been cut
and no need for area-wide evacuation.
off. These are “manhole toilets,” in which
As of May 2013, 34 areas where
manholes are installed along collecting
fireproofing has progressed, a total of
sewers that lead to the sewage pipe. At
100 sq. kilometers, have been designated.
the time of a disaster, the manhole cover
Specifically, this includes the total area
is removed and replaced with a toilet,
of Chiyoda ward and the Ginza and
and a tent is erected around it to maintain
Nihombashi areas in Chuo ward.
Cooking stove bench (top); manhole toilets (bottom)
There are also benches in the park that can be used for cooking purposes during a
disaster. Cooking stoves appear when the seating portion is removed. A fire can be
started here for cooking (shapes vary by park). Other installations in the park include
Evacuation areas are mainly places
park lights that operate on solar power so that they light up even during a power
where you can evacuate to safety from
failure, water pumps to manually pump up water (not drinking water) when water
fire in the event of a large-scale spread
supply is cut off, water tanks for firefighting, and emergency water supply tanks.
of fire triggered by an earthquake. The
Open spaces in the city will serve various roles during an earthquake. Fifty-three
Tokyo Metropolitan Government has
metropolitan parks have been built up as disaster prevention parks that can be used by
designated open spaces such as large
anyone as an evacuation area and operations center during a disaster. As these can be
parks, green spaces, and areas with fire-
useful if you are forced to walk home due to an earthquake or have to evacuate, go to
resistant buildings as evacuation areas.
the following URL to check the locations of these disaster prevention parks.
Check your municipality’s website, etc.,
for more information.
Tokoy Metropollitan Park Assciation
Hold a family meeting
Use Disaster Preparedness Tokyo
Divide responsibilities between family members prior to an earthquake
Use this manual as a tool, not only at family meetings, but also when discussing
striking, such as who will be in charge of preventing a fire and who
disaster preparedness measures with your child’s school or neighbors. Talking about
will secure an exit path. You should also designate a meeting place
disaster preparedness raises awareness, enabling people to take steps to better protect
and a method to confirm each other’s safety in case your family is not
themselves in a disaster. You can also use the pages of this manual set aside for notes
together at the time. Family members may be away from home—on their
to enter important information and checklists for you and your family.
way to school or stranded due to disrupted transportation services. Also,
don’t forget to confirm your evacuation area and evacuation route, and
Notes → pp. 292-307
the location of the circuit breaker and gas shutoff valve for your home,
as well as how to operate these devices.
in Apartment Buildings
Exchange greetings with
Create a disaster
Cooperation with neighbors is necessary
Create a disaster preparedness
when a disaster strikes. Expand your
manual within the framework of the
network within the community through
condominium association, distribute the
activities such as exchanging greetings
manual to all residents, and hold disaster
with neighbors on a regular basis and
participating in disaster preparedness
drills put on by the community
association, so that your life at home
or in an evacuation center following a
Secure an indoor
disaster will go smoothly as well.
Secure space to serve as an evacuation
Details → p. 130
area such as a meeting room, elevator
hall, or an apartment. Common spaces
within a complex such as the entrance
People who need special care
hall, children’s playroom, and guest room
also come to mind. However, areas where
People in need of special care such
there is the danger of shattered glass or
as expectant mothers, children, the
falling objects should be avoided.
elderly, foreign nationals, and those with
serious illnesses or disabilities may not
be in a position to promptly ascertain
information or evacuate. In addition to
Storage of rescue kits
always being aware of the members of
your community who need special care,
In a high-rise building, it is very difficult
cooperate with commissioned welfare
to carry rescue kits to higher floors when
volunteers and others to support them
elevators shut down. As such, it would
when a disaster occurs.
be better to distribute kits throughout the
complex, placing kits in common areas
Details → p. 66
on higher floors as well.
Measures at Work
Hold fire and disaster drills
Even if you create protocol for your
call-down list, a manual, etc., these
efforts will prove meaningless if the
materials do not serve their purpose in
an emergency. As such, it is necessary
to regularly conduct drills according to
the manual, and review trouble points so
that these materials are truly functional.
Consult with local fire authorities for
Details → p. 130
Prepare to stay at the office
Prepare for the possibility that all employees may not be able to return home
immediately following a disaster by stockpiling the supplies needed for everyone to
remain at the office for three days.
Create a manual and rules
At your company, decide on a person to be in charge of disaster preparedness, hold a
disaster preparedness meeting, and make rules such as how to evacuate, where to evacuate
to, and how the emergency call-down list or phone tree should work. Since the general rule
on returning home following a major earthquake or disaster is to wait until after 72 hours
Drinking water, food
have passed, it is necessary for you to stockpile supplies in case employees or visitors to
Blankets, thermal blankets
First aid kit/emergency medical
your office become stranded there. When conditions at your workplace change such as
changes in personnel, be sure to review the manual again.
TMG Disaster Prevention Official Twitter Account @tokyo_bousai
Confirm Safety and
Using this Twitter account, the TMG will issue alerts when a disaster
occurs, including urgent information. When there is no crisis, the TMG also
periodically distributes information and knowledge useful in a disaster through
NTT's Disaster Emergency
Disaster message board services
TMG Disaster Prevention
Message Dial 171 service
This service, provided by cell phone
The All-Japan Safety Confirmation Portal
By activating Twitter Alerts, important Tweets
A message service that allows a person in carriers, enables people to register
enables users to attempt to confirm a
issued by public agencies and emergency
the area affected by a disaster to record information concerning their safety using
person’s safety by entering the person’s
response organizations will appear on your
a message confirming their safety. This their cell phone or smartphone. These
name and telephone number to search
message can then be played back by messages can then be confirmed by
Details → p. 271
information provided by disaster message
others trying to reach that person.
Details → p. 227
boards, the media, and companies all at
Details → p. 226
Details → p. 272
Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Disaster Prevention Website
Disaster Prevention Map
A wide range of smartphone apps useful
When a disaster occurs, it becomes
As the TMG provides information on Using the disaster prevention map provided on
difficult to successfully place a call using
in times of disaster, including internet
preparing for a disaster in normal times, the TMG disaster prevention website, you can
a regular phone. However, it is said that
radio, disaster alert, and earthquake
as well as information on the situation find the location of disaster prevention facilities,
information apps, are available.
calls go through relatively easily on public
when a disaster strikes, checking this site support stations for people returning home
regularly is helpful.
following a disaster, and other relevant facilities.
Details → p. 270
Fire and Disaster Drills
Disaster drills held by the Tokyo
Disaster drills held by the
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Several thousand people participate in
and the municipalities jointly hold a disaster drills held by the municipal
comprehensive disaster drill with resident g o v e r n m e n t b y s c h o o l d i s t r i c t o r
participation four times a year.
evacuation center. They are mainly held
at public schools.
Disaster drills held by
Overnight stays at schools
Drills simulating evacuation life (drills
Participate in drills to be prepared
Centering on first response fire fighting
for sleeping and preparing food) when
and first-aid training, these drills include
a disaster strikes are held at all 186
In order to minimize damage in the event of a disaster, it would be important
metropolitan high schools (as of April 1,
rescue and relief drills, communication
for you to routinely participate in local fire and disaster drills. Fire and
drills, evacuation drills, and drills to
disaster drills are mainly made up of community disaster drills held by the
protect yourself using an earthquake
citizens disaster response team, disaster preparedness education at schools, and
drills held in collaboration with local residents.
*If you wish to hold a fire and disaster drill, consult with your nearby fire department.
Physical protection drills
When an earthquake strikes, priority
should be given to protecting your own
safety. In an earthquake simulator you
can experience the shaking and learn
how to protect yourself from falling
objects, etc. You can also learn how to
protect yourself after being alerted by an
earthquake early warning.
First response firefighting
Drills to prevent fire
Damage could be minimized if a fire is extinguished in its initial stages. For this, learn
how to use firefighting tools and equipment ranging from your simple household fire
extinguisher to standpipes and portable fire pumps.
Damage can be prevented if you
can prevent fire from breaking
out. In these drills, you learn what
actions to take to prevent fire
from breaking out, such as calmly
turning off the flame after the
shaking has subsided, and turning
off the main electricity and gas
sources when you evacuate.
This is a drill to properly communicate
Portable fire pump
information on fires, rescue and relief,
By supplying and pressurizing water
If there is a fire hydrant, etc. available,
and earthquake damage to the fire
using a small pump, this allows large
these light and easy-to-use standpipes
fighting authorities. You learn how to
volumes of water to be sprayed to
can be used to spray water even in
call 119, and the important points for
further distances. If you learn how to
narrow roads that fire trucks cannot
communications depending upon the type
use this pump, it can be operated by a
of phone used.
small number of people to effectively
Details → p. 190
Details → p. 191
Rescue and relief drills
In these drills you learn how to use
everyday tools to rescue people who were
unable to escape in time due to building
collapse, etc. You also learn how to give
first-aid to people who were rescued.
Disaster preparedness education
In manners that suit their stage of growth, children are taught to first protect
themselves, to then help people nearby, and furthermore, to contribute to their
community during disasters such as an earthquake or fire. In addition to evacuation
drills at school, the whole family should make it a point to participate in fire and
These are drills for safe evacuation from
disasters such as fires and earthquakes.
You learn about the essential preparations
and methods for evacuation and also
learn about the properties of smoke by
experiencing a smoke simulator.
In order to give proper first-aid treatment
in an emergency situation, these drills
Hands-on training for disaster response
will teach you about first-aid treatment so
that you can gain the necessary knowhow
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has three Life Safety Learning Centers where
you can have fun learning about disasters and participating in hands-on training and
various drills. Visit the centers located in Ikebukuro, Honjo, and Tachikawa as the first
step to experiencing disaster response.
Details → p. 273
Citizens Disaster Response Team
Example of disaster response goods and equipment
Stocking goods and equipment for disaster response team activities is essential.
Studies on what is necessary are made based on local circumstances. Storage and
management should be done in a manner that will ensure that they can be used flexibly
and promptly in an emergency.
Protect your community yourselves
This organization aims for effective community response to disasters under the
principle of neighbors cooperating with each other to protect their community.
This collaborative organization is based on the unit of community or neighborhood
associations. The person in charge of disaster response in the community association,
etc., takes a central role in calling for the formation of this team, which is formed to
conduct activities in line with local circumstances. Your participation will lead to the
enhancement of your community’s strength and disaster preparedness.
Volunteer Fire Corps
Neighborhood disaster response groups
Groups that are working actively so people can protect themselves and neighbors
can help each other as preparation for an earthquake are designated by the Tokyo
Metropolitan Government as Tokyo Neighborhood Disaster Response Groups. Efforts
are taken to raise community disaster preparedness by holding study meetings with
disaster response specialists and seminars for citizen disaster response team leaders.
response study meetings
Disaster response experts visit your
community to give lectures that will
be helpful in disaster preparation or
hold discussions. By holding such
meetings during your regular community
association meeting or regular drills,
etc., you can easily learn about disaster
What is a volunteer fire corps?
This is a group that undertakes firefighting activities in the community, just
like the fire department does, but unlike the fire department, this is a non-
regular group made up of members who have other occupations, e.g. self-
employed, company employees, homemakers, and students. When a fire,
flood, earthquake, or other kind of emergency arises, they initiate fire-fighting
activities. Inquire at your local volunter fire corps about qualifications needed
to become a member.
Have fun learning about disaster preparedness
Disaster Preparedness Quiz
Let's try“Disaster Map Exercises”
What does “daily stockpile” mean?
Answer → p. 85
Where should you keep your emergency bag?
Answer → p. 90
What secondary disasters can occur when furniture and other heavy items fall
over in an earthquake?
Answer → p. 95
In order to prevent injuries in the house, what types of checks are needed and
It can be fun learning about disaster preparedness. One such way is the “disaster map
what steps should be taken?
Answer → p. 96
exercises.” This is disaster drill that anyone can participate in called DIG (“Disaster”
“Imagination” “Game”). Specifically, this is a disaster-training program based on the
What kind of buildings have the possibility of collapsing from the tremors
scenario a major disaster occurs in the area where the participants live, and everyone,
of an earthquake?
Answer → p. 106
from children to adults, works together to seriously think about how to respond to this
disaster while also having fun. Features of the drill include its use of a large map and
What kind of things should be prepared to prevent the outbreak or spread of
fire after an earthquake, and what cautions should be taken?
the ability of each participant to actively play a leading role.
By discussing matters using the map and writing on it, participants can confirm what
Answer → p. 109
kind of disasters could occur in their community, their community’s weaknesses to that
kind of disaster, and the community’s disaster response level. In addition, participants
What is the difference between an evacuation center and an evacuation
will also realize the importance of organized activity by the community to respond
Answer → p. 115
to disaster. Prepare for disasters by heightening your awareness of disaster response
What should be prepared for when family members are separated?
through participation in DIG with your family and neighbors.
Answer → p. 122
What are the following telephone numbers?
(1) 171 (2) 110 (3) 119
Basic level DIG
Answer → p. 128
Fill in built up areas and natural conditions such as mountains, level ground, and
rivers on the map.
Name more than three types of fire and disaster drills.
Confirm the local structure and write in railways, roads, parks, buildings that can
Answer → pp. 132-134
prevent the spread of fire, etc., by using different colors.
Mark facilities and equipment that can have a positive or negative effect on disaster
Conduct a discussion on community disaster preparedness using the completed